The Central Bank of Nigeria will work with Bitt Inc, a Barbados-based fintech company, as a technical partner to help it launch Nigeria’s digital currency.
According to a release by the bank’s spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, the governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele listed the benefits of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to include increased cross-border trade, accelerated financial inclusion, cheaper and faster remittance inflows, easier targeted social interventions, as well as improvements in monetary policy effectiveness, payment systems efficiency, and tax collection.
“Project Giant, as the Nigerian CBDC pilot is known, has been a long and thorough process for the CBN, with the Bank’s decision to digitize the Naira in 2017, following extensive
research and explorations. Given the significant explosion in the use of digital payments and the rise in the digital economy, the CBN’s decision follows an unmistakable global trend in which over 85 percent of Central Banks are now considering adopting digital currencies in their countries,” he said.
It said the selection of Bitt Inc, from among highly competitive bidders, was hinged on the company’s technological competence, efficiency, platform security, interoperability, and implementation experience.
“In choosing Bitt Inc, the CBN will rely on the company’s tested and proven digital currency experience, which is already in circulation in several Eastern Caribbean Countries. Bitt Inc.
was key to the development and successful launch of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in April 2021,” it said.
Bitt offers a mobile solution that uses CBDC for payments, top-ups, bill payments, government fees, taxes, local and cross-border person-to-person payments.
In June 2020, the CBN had announced that its digital currency will be launched by the end of 2021.
The announcement came months after it banned financial institutions from cryptocurrency-related transactions in the country, claiming the digital currency is used for money laundering and terrorism.
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